From Denis MacShane MP.
Sir, The headline over your report (June 26) on the Council of Europe’s short debate on “Mosquito” machines, which emit a noise that disperses rowdy teenagers, claimed that “Brussels” was to clamp down on these products. The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly meets in Strasbourg and has no law-making powers. The debate last Friday had five people speaking and nothing more will happen. Mosquitoes are safe.
The Council of Europe’s conventions – such as the one ratified and signed recently by the UK on trafficking under-age women into prostitution – do have an impact, and the European Court of Human Rights, which is part of the Council of Europe, does force changes in national law and practice.
The 46 members of the Council of Europe include Norway, Switzerland, Georgia, Russia and Turkey, and this allows richer debate than that limited to the European Union’s 27 member states.
The EU and the Council of Europe are complementary. There is far more to Europe than Brussels, and if the EU wants to narrow its democratic and popularity deficit it needs to find ways of involving the 8,000 national parliamentarians of its member states more in its debates and decisions.
House of Commons, UK
Source: Financial Times